Minimizing Surface Disturbance
To achieve air, water, land and biodiversity conditions that support healthy ecosystems, it is critical to manage the cumulative effects of human development on the environment. Stewardship requires a collaborative effort by everyone to achieve the sustainable outcomes that Albertans and the global communities expect. Policy direction is assured by ministry education, outreach, authorizations and compliance programs, and reporting environmental conditions and trends.
Industry, communities and citizens also play an important role in environmental stewardship by voluntarily undertaking best management practices and complying with regulatory requirements. Their actions to minimize land disturbances, manage at-risk landscapes and invasive species are critical to achieve desired outcomes.
Policy and Supporting Publications
Land uses affect the ecological integrity of the grassland environments and, if not managed properly, may lead to the loss of native grassland landscapes. Historical and current policy for protecting native grasslands has been built on principles for minimizing surface disturbed as outlined in the 3 fold strategy below.
- Avoidance of native grasslands where possible, especially in critical ecological sites identified as extremely difficult to reclaim.
- Reducing area and impacts of industrial disturbance to the extent possible, and
- Developing practical methods that will allow eventual restoration of disturbed areas.
Each of the policies below plays a role in enabling the above strategy through education, awareness and/or regulatory requirements:
- Principles for Minimizing Surface Disturbance – Principles, Guidelines, and Tools for all Industrial Activity in Native Grasslands in the Prairie and Parkland Landscapes of Alberta- Sep 1, 2016 (40 pages, <1 MB)
- Industrial Activity in the Central Parkland and Northern Fescue Native Grasslands – Strategies for Minimizing Surface Disturbance- Sep 1, 2016 (22 pages, <1 MB)
- Industrial Activity Foothills Fescue Grasslands – Minimizing Surface Disturbance- Mar 2010 (17 pages, 2 MB)
- IL 2010-02 Foothills Fescue Grasslands – Principles for Minimizing Surface Disturbance- Mar 23, 2010 (2 pages, <1 MB)
- 2010 Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated Facilities for Native Grasslands- Jul 2013 (92 pages, 1.8 MB)
- R&R/ 03-5 Problem Introduced Forages on Prairie & Parkland Reclamation Sites- Sep 2003 (3 pages, <1 MB)
- Literature Review of Reclamation Practices in the Central Parkland and Northern Fescue Natural Subregions- Jul 2017 (32 pages, 1.2 MB)
For a listing of resources and tools for these policy principles and guidelines, see:
Updated: Jan 30, 2018